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Experts insist on waste sorting in Arctic

April 24, 2017, 7:40 UTC+3 KRASNOYARSK
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KRASNOYARSK, April 24. /TASS/. Experts suggest organizing waste sorting in the Arctic regions in order to lower negative impact on the environment. The local climate does not allow keeping waste at landfields, like it is done in Russia’s other regions, because the frost would not allow breakdown reactions into the soil. This topic was on agenda of the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum’s international seminar, called New System of Waste Management.

"Let’s make the Arctic the first area with waste sorting," deputy head of the North-Western Center for Hygiene and Public Health Valery Novatsky said.

This opinion was supported by Ildar Neverov, head of the natural resources and environment committee at the Delovaya Rossiya non-governmental organization. The waste sorting experiment could begin from small settlements, for example, from the Kola town in the Murmansk region. "Waste sorting is possible, or that waste could be taken out to a regional center for further processing. <…> Burning waste in the North is not probable, as the people there, I think, would object," he said.


High risks of waste in the Arctic

Research results say the waste, gained in the Arctic, influences negatively the plants, water reservoirs, animals and the local residents - because of the climate peculiarities, the scientist said.

"In the low temperatures in the Arctic, the settling of poisonous substances from the air on the soil is much quicker. They would not spread, but they get pressed, and because of the low temperatures in the Arctic, there is no traditional breakdown, which we see at landfields, and the landfields are now storage pits in fact," he continued.

Director of the Institute of Economy of Natural Resources and Ecology Policy at the Higher School of Economics Boris Morgunov added, the low temperatures in the region may by a few times increase the harmful impact from the toxic agents on people.

"The danger from stable organic pollution agents is that by water, air, in migration of animals and birds, they are transported very far away. For example in Chukotka, blood tests of indigenous peoples showed not only the Russian stable polluters, but the hazardous chemical substances, which never ever have been produced or used in those regions," the expert said.


Waste management regulations should be tougher

The scientist added, Russian producers of highly toxic waste practically have no motivation for their secure storage. "The current requirement regarding management of highly toxic waste, which in fact are chemical bombs, are similar to the requirements applicable to low-hazardous waste, like construction waste. The imperfect technologies for managing higly toxic waste often cause one poisonous substance develop into another, sometimes even more toxic," he said.

In the Arctic, it is necessary to introduce tough sanctions and subsidiary responsibility for improper treatment of highly toxic waste, he continued. At the same time, there should be respective technical control and monitoring of the entire waste management cycle.


Local residents hail waste sorting

Head of an ecology organization in Krasnoyarsk (Green Purse), Tatyana Spozhakina, expressed confidence the local people would do the waste sorting willingly.

"Every year, for 12 years running, we involve up to 200,000 people in the Green Purse competition in collecting mixed paper on the territory where 1.5 million live," she said. "Everyone may learn to sort the waste. Yesterday, one of the schools collected two tonnes of plastic bottles - it means 60,000 bottles." The authorities and the business, involved in waste processing, should pay attention to the suggestion on implementing waste sorting, she added.

The Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum took place on April 20-22. Its main topic was "Russian Economy: Agenda 2017-2025." TASS was the forum’s strategic information partner.

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